Since arriving in New Zealand, I have now twice been the target of attempted religious conversion.

I found this surprising, as I had understood the country to be one of the more progressive in the world.

In fact, New Zealand has far more non-religious (38%) than Canada (16%) or the US (16%*).

Perhaps that’s why the churches are more active at recruiting here.

I was raised in a Christian family, and I know a good deal about the Bible.  I’ve researched the basics of other major world religions, and have learned some ancient mythology.

I also have a very strong education in, and inclination towards mathematics and logic.

Some aspects of religion are great.  Values like sharing, caring for others, and not killing people are of great benefit to society.

On the other hand, the related crusades, intolerance, and holy wars are… not so great.

Even more dangerous, in my opinion, is the concept of absolute faith.  This is the phenomenon where people choose to believe certain things absolutely, regardless of evidence or lack thereof.

For instance, nobody can prove or disprove that there is or is not an afterlife, but billions of people have been led to believe in one.

Furthermore, and perhaps even more unsettling, people believe that their actions in life will directly affect this purported afterlife.

I personally have no idea what happens after death.  And if an afterlife did exist, how should I know what effect my actions would have on it?

And that’s the point.  Nobody can know.

In the meantime, religious leaders ask us to simply and blindly “have faith”, and manage to grab a lot of money and power in the process.

As such, I’m not particularly inclined to join any organized religious group at the moment.

To all potential recruiters, please accept my polite “no thanks”.

*Data from year - NZ: 2006, CA: 2001, US: 2007